Japan’s new education model is India?

Excerpted from this story

Japan is suffering a crisis of confidence about its ability to compete with its emerging Asian rivals, China and India. One result has been a growing craze for Indian education.

Many are looking for lessons from India, seen by many in Japan as the world’s ascendant education superpower.

Bookstores are filled with titles like “Extreme Indian Arithmetic Drills” and “The Unknown Secrets of the Indians.” Newspapers carry reports of Indian children memorizing multiplication tables far beyond nine times nine, the standard in Japan. And the few Indian international schools in Japan are reporting a surge in applications from Japanese families.

At the Little Angels English Academy & International Kindergarten, the textbooks are from India, most of the teachers are South Asian, and classroom posters depict animals out of Indian tales, including dancing elephants in plumed turbans.

Little Angels is in Mikata, a Tokyo suburb. Only 1 of its 45 students is Indian. Most are Japanese.

As with many new things in Japan, the interest in Indian-style education has become a social fad, with everyone suddenly piling on.

Indian education is a frequent topic in public forums, from talk shows to conferences on education. Popular books claim to reveal the Indian secrets for multiplying and dividing multiple-digit numbers.

Interesting to see how “foreign” India may be to the Japanese, such that a mythology emerges. Reminds me of the tantric sex mythology (one of many, no doubt, over the centuries) that the West has built up around India.


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